Pros to Become a Volunteer English Teacher
2019-05-02 Elizaveta Pachina Alumni Experiences
I believe that volunteering as a concept is a worthwhile activity, especially if the volunteer is helping a charity. In the field of volunteer teaching, the volunteer can also gain valuable teaching experience which can provide a great start to their teaching career.
This follows my personal experience. I started my teaching career as a volunteer teacher of sixteen to twenty-year-old pupils at CDC (the Children’s Development Centre), which is a school for Burmese migrants in Mae Sot, Thailand. I had no previous teaching experience at all, and the position allowed me to gradually gain teaching experience. I felt very happy to teach the subject "Community Development" to the pupils because this was my field of university study.
Also read: How much can I earn teaching English abroad?
Reasons to Volunteer
The reasons why people work as volunteer teachers, and the reasons for volunteering in general, can vary. There are two main reasons why people work as volunteer teachers. The first reason is clearly altruistic because the person concerned doesn’t expect to gain any personal benefit from working for the school. The main incentive for this type of volunteer teacher is a good feeling gained from helping others. These volunteer teachers are very often older people from Europe, North America or Australia, spending their retirement by “doing good deeds”. I met several of these teachers during my stay at CDC school. The second type of volunteer teaching is based on a certain kind of mutuality and reciprocity. These volunteer teachers do the same work as the first type of “altruistic” volunteers. The difference lies in their personal goals. While the first type expects to only obtain positive feelings from their good deeds, this second type of volunteer does their job largely in order to gain useful teaching experience, and the accompanying teaching skills, confidence, and experience to make themselves more attractive to a future paying employer. However, this does not mean that these volunteers are not altruistic. Most of the volunteers and volunteer teachers are empathic people who do their work happily and conscientiously.
How it Influences Your Experience?
My personal experience of volunteer teaching was that I found it very fulfilling and satisfying. My future plan is to work as a paid full-time teacher. Because I had never taught before, I decided to teach as a volunteer to learn how to teach and gain experience. At the very beginning, I was quite nervous because this was my very first experience of this kind. Luckily the local as well as international staff supported me and helped me a lot, especially at the start. Thanks to this I quickly started to develop my teaching skills and gained self-confidence, and I quickly set myself up as a competent teacher and a useful member of the teaching staff.
Are You Ready to Teach English Abroad?
In terms of volunteering as such, an important factor is a school the volunteer chooses to work for. I was very lucky to work in a school with a friendly environment, with kind staff and great students who I will never forget. I believe that volunteer teaching is an excellent tool to allow those who wish to become teachers to gain valuable experience and help the particular school and students.
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